I think we can all agree that getting sick is one of the most annoying things we all go through. Whether we've caught a cold, are suffering with a sore throat, or dealing with a full-on flu situation, getting sick is never a good time.
Luckily, we live in a time where you can get medications and vaccines that are designed to help keep you healthy, or at the bare minimum, help control your symptoms should you get ill. You can hop over to any pharmacy and grab a bottle of Robitussin and in a little while you'll start to feel a bit better.
For most of us, having a cold or flu isn't the end of the world, it's mostly just an inconvenience that lasts about a week. But before all of these easily accessible medications were available, having a cold was a lot bigger of a deal.
It's likely that as long as there have been human beings, there have been viruses trying to infect us. But how did they treat colds before all of these pharmacies were everywhere? Well, some of the methods were truly bizarre.
Onions, Onions, Everywhere
This bizarre cold and flu prevention technique is thought to originate way back in the day when people were afraid of getting the plague.
The National Onion Association says that families would slice onions and place them around the house on plates, assuming the vegetable would be able to absorb any germs floating around. That way your family wouldn't catch any colds, the flu, or I guess the plague?
We now know that germs don't really care if there's an onion around, they're going to get you if they want to.
They've Got You Seeing Red
How does a color affect the flu? Well, it doesn't, but that's not what they used to think. There have actually been a couple of different red-based theories when it came to the flu, and I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume none of them were all that effective.
There are reports that in order to ward off the Spanish Flu, families would boil ripe red peppers in their homes with all the windows shut. But that's not even the craziest red theory.
In some places, people would simply wear a red ribbon around their chest or neck because "the flu is the devil and devil don't work with red."
This advice is said to have come from a man who wrote to the Public health Service to give advice to soldiers.
I'll Take A Whiskey, On The Rocks, With Some Bacon Grease
Whiskey may be a favorite drink for a lot of people, but I bet there tends to be a lot less bacon grease involved.
In 1918, people would give children whiskey with honey, pepper, and a bit of bacon grease as a preventive measure for the flu, and also as a cure if they did get sick. At the bare minimum the kids would probably fall right asleep, so I guess that's a good thing.
Grab A Bag Of Asafetida
People believed that the spicy scented sap could prevent people from getting sick, so they would fill a bag with it and then carry it around their necks.
The Asafetida is also known as hing, and it has a strong smell but definitely has no real method of preventing the flu. The only potential correlation might be that people would stay far away from you because of the potent odor you are giving off while wearing this satchel of stink on your neck.
Keep Your Amber Close To Your Heart
Amber amulets may seem a little bit witchy and mysterious, but back in the good ol' days, people believed they could keep you healthy.
People would wear amber amulets around their necks to ward off any influenza or colds, or cure it if you had already fallen ill.
Researchers don't really understand the logic behind it, but at least they looked cool while they attempted to stay healthy.
Keep Calm And Stay Healthy
One of the strangest things that people used to believe was the cause for the flu was "nervous and physical exhaustion."
The American Public Health Association actually gave out notices that warned people that getting nervous would make them prone to getting the flu. Apparently they said women were more susceptible to "hysteria" and this led them to getting sick more frequently.
You can almost, just barely, see the connection with the flu, as if you're getting too nervous you may not sleep, and now doctors have learned that a lack of sleep lowers your immune system, but I don't know that you can blame that on "hysteria."
Drain Out The Bad Blood
You know, bad blood can really put a damper on your relationships, but did you know that doctors used to think there was literal bad blood coursing through your veins that they could simply remove?
I know blood transfusions are common now, but back before they had everything worked out, they would simply drain out some blood with a technique called "bloodletting" and hope that it would release the bad energy and demons that were invading your system.
Say bye bye to disease and toxins and hello to new blood! Except they didn't actually replace the blood, and instead assumed the bodies could handle making more on their own. It did not go so great for a lot of people, including George Washington.
I'm glad that now we can take care of ourselves with cold medicine and rest, because if I had to try any of these bizarre methods, I don't think I would make it.